Apprenticeship Sessions 18, 19, & 20

While technically we are done with the FY20 grant, we had a couple of projects that we hadn’t yet completed and we wanted to get them done before moving on to the FY21 projects. These final projects being a hammer and an axe. We wound up doing three sessions in one week (Thursday, Saturday, Tuesday) to get these wrapped up.


Last time, we had finished shaping and thermocyclingthermocycling Thermocycling is the process of heating steel to critical temp (non-magnetic) and then letting it air cool. Usually done three times in a row. our hammer head and all that remained was to heat treat it, quench it, temper it, dress it, and add a handle. There wasn’t a lot of forging on the hammer today; mostly just finish work. We did get to heat it up and try something a bit different with the quench. The was to drip water over the face of the hammer which is where it needs hardening the most but leave the middle portion a bit softer to absorb the forces when hammering.

The rest was finish work with a bit of tempering and then putting the handle on.

setting the hammer head on the handle


The axe head had been left with the hole punched through and drifted just a bit. We still needed to draw the langetslanget Langets are the "ears" associated with a drift hole, such as on a hammer or axe, where to flatten the sides you pull the mass up into ears instead of pushing it to the sides which would distort the hole., taper the face, and draw the beard out, not to mention heat treat it and put an edge on it.

the steps to making an axe

So we began by drawing out the langets again, which turned out to be similar to the hammer head, but slightly different since we were going to fullering the one side to set the beard. So after the sides of the eye were mostly flat, we started drawing the taper of the face. Not too far into that, however, we used a round fullering tool to shoulder the area for the beard and mark where the tapering needed to be done in earnest.

Once we got it to a size we liked, we forged and then ground the edge, but not too sharp. Because the next step is the heat treating. With the axe, we opted to quench in oil and then water.

quenching the axe head in oil

Once again, the last steps were finishing the edge and tempering. We finished we a good, solid, sharp, usable axe head. Now we just need to find the right handle for it.